Admitting it was an extra-marital affair he "couldn't resist," former Denver Hispanic chamber president Jeffrey Campos said he also feared he'd be exposed to his wife and business associates.
It was that fear that kept Campos coming back to a slighted Jennifer Reins, a tall, slender real estate broker 22 years his junior whom Campos said wailed on him - emotionally and physically - the night he tried to end their sometimes tumultuous relationship.
Testifying in his own defense in the third day of his misdemeanor assault trial, Campos, 56, said it was Reins who clocked him with a "round-house" punch and that any injuries she sustained were from him trying to ward off her flailing at him.
"At one point she gave me a round-house hook to the face and I just saw stars after that," Campos testified.
He said Reins poked, pushed, punched and prodded him - at times grabbing for his car keys as the two drove around downtown for hours - and that he grabbed her wrists and arms to try to fend her off. At times he said he was forced to pull the car over, denying he roared through city streets at high speed, as Reins had said.
Reins testified earlier that she confronted Campos in mid-July last summer after finding a note in an apartment they shared ending their relationship. Reins accuses Campos, the former CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver, of losing control during a sustained argument, leaving her bruised and battered. He's charged with third-degree assault.
But it was Reins who lost control, Campos said, and he was merely trying to protect himself.
"Jennifer doesn't take 'no' very well," Campos said, explaining that his efforts to end their stormy liaison were not an easy ones.
He said he couldn't leave Reins "because of the threat of exposing me to my wife and daughters and to the board at the Hispanic chamber." Finally, in July, he decided to end it after he and wife, Vicky, agreed to seek counseling to save their 26-year marriage.
"I'm wasn't big on counseling, but I wanted to save my family," he said.
But Campos was already thinking of ending the relationship that began around early December 2010 with a trip to Scottsdale, Ariz., to see a Broncos football game. By March the following Spring, Campos said he "sensed something just wasn't right" about Reins and how things were going.
"It started to hit me that there was some financial gain she wanted on this," Campos said, noting Reins had financial problems that caused him to sign a year-long lease for her. Reins testified that it was a credit history issue she eventually cleared up. He characterized it as an 11th-hour appeal to help her out.
"I saw a pattern that she wasn't getting any money and (funding her lifestyle) was not what I wanted to do," Campos said.
Campos took Reins on a trip to Chicago in June 2011, which was on chamber of commerce business. Campos said he paid for her to go, though he wasn't clear if the funds were his own or the organization's.
But ending the relationship wasn't easy, despite his desire to do so.
Several incidents he described as Reins' attempts at suicide - which Reins denies ever happened - were efforts at keeping him with her, Campos said. Each one occurring after he articulated a desire to leave.
"I stayed," he said. "I couldn't resist."
The protracted trial - unusual for a misdemeanor that isn't likely to result in much more than a fine and probation if convicted - is to reach the jury Friday. The six-person panel, evenly composed of men and women, will decide Campos' fate.